Jon Kovash

News Correspondent - Moab

Originally from Wyoming, Jon Kovash has practiced journalism throughout the intermountain west. He was editor of the student paper at Denver’s Metropolitan College and an early editor at the Aspen Daily News. He served as KOTO/Telluride’s news director for fifteen years, during which time he developed and produced Thin Air, an award-winning regional radio news magazine that ran on 20 community stations in the Four Corners states. In Utah his reports have been featured on KUER/SLC and KZMU/Moab. Kovash is a senior correspondent for Mountain Gazette and plays alto sax in “Moab’s largest garage band."

After a well-attended public meeting, the Moab Sagebrush Coalition has mounted a petition drive, and a boycott of businesses signed the letter asking President Obama to create a Greater Canyonlands. Among those actively involved is San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lynam.

The Outdoor Industry Association wants new national monument protection for 1.4 million acres surrounding Canyonlands, and industry giants like Patagonia are helping lead the push. But last week’s letter to president Obama was also signed by a long list of Utah and Moab businesses.

A week-old petition to change the name of Negro Bill Canyon, near Moab, has already attracted hundreds of signatures.

The petition is to the USGS Board of Geographic Names, and it’s not he first effort to change the name of Negro Bill Canyon, named after early black settler William Grandstaff. 12 years ago the board declared there was no community support for a name change, because Grandstaff allegedly called himself "Nigger Bill." Louis Williams, a 14-year Moab resident, has long been skeptical of that claim.  

This summer the Mountain Gazette, the region’s only mass circulation literary magazine, celebrated its 40th birthday. I have to disclose that I am a senior contributor to Mountain Gazette, and over the years have received hundreds of dollars in compensation. But last month I was compelled to travel to Summit County, Colorado, where contributors over four decades held a first-ever gathering. Around a snapping campfire, John Fayhee welcomed the assembled writers:

On Saturday Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison issued a proclamation welcoming the Moab Pride Festival:

"I think it’s a good event, I really do, and I think the community thinks it’s a good event. These are our neighbors, these are our friends, these are the people who live here, so, you know, we’re all in this thing together. And why not celebrate that?"

Canyonlands Watershed Council

The Bureau of Land Management is preparing for an auction of new oil and gas leases on 80,000 acres of BLM land in Southeast Utah. The leases have sparked concern about Moab’s sole source of drinking water.

Kiley Miller lives in a rural area south of Moab. When she looked at the BLM map of proposed leases, she realized that one of the parcels was right next door.

"My first thought was, well, if they’re going to be drilling for oil and gas up there, then our potential well could become contaminated, and then where would we be? And then I started thinking, well, if it’s on top of my watershed, then maybe it’s on top of Moab’s watershed."

The new Moab Regional Hospital, a year and a half after opening its doors, faces a grave financial crisis, and the new long-term Care Center may have to close soon unless local government coughs up substantial funds.

On Friday, local officials were told the new Moab hospital, already the county’s largest employer, may be $1,000,000 in the red and is slowing payments to creditors while making significant changes to its operations.

Rory Tyler

For years, Moab’s Mill Creek Canyon, a sensitive wilderness study area right next to town, has been intentionally left off the official guide books. But increasingly, people are finding the canyon anyway, and they are in danger of loving it to death.

Show Biz Kids of Moab

Aug 14, 2012

In the past two years filming for major motion pictures has made a comeback, and the Utah Film Commission projects that 2012 will be a “watershed year,” with film crews spending $56 million in the state. Lured to Utah by cash rebates, Sony Pictures and Disney were encamped in Moab for most of the summer.

Governor Gary Herbert traveled to Moab Monday, where he heard about plans to re-establish Moab as Utah’s mountain biking mecca. Moab is halfway through an ambitious plan to add  hundreds of miles of both paved and single-track bike paths, which will be tied together by a transit hub next to the Colorado River. The governor was told it will all be in place by the end of next year, at a total cost of $21 million in federal grants.

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